“I think it’s going to happen.”
Freddie Roach is dreaming about the big fight, getting the man he trains, Manny Pacquiao in the ring with Floyd Mayweather.
Roach insists Pacquiao’s team are pushing to make the mega-fight and Freddie revealed that he helped Bob Arum, head of Top Rank, Pacquiao’s promoter, hold talks with Les Moonves, the president of CBS, which owns Showtime, the television channel that screens Mayweather’s fights.
“I was in the meeting with Bob and Moonves. Moonves was trying to get the fight together without Bob and I said no, you’ve got to get Bob involved,” Roach revealed. “He called Bob ‘the devil’ but you know what I put them together, we had a meeting at Bob’s house. It was hard to get them together but just for that fight [they did]. I was at the meeting and if they both do what they say they’re going to do, the fight will happen. They walked out of the meeting with their arms around each other and I said look at that, maybe it has a chance. I hope so.
“The first time, Moonves was trying to make the deal on his own. I told him Bob’s part of the deal. He’s got Manny.”
Roach is sounding tentatively optimistic that Mayweather-Pacquiao could be made in 2015. “He needs it for CBS and we want it,” Freddie said. “We just want the fight to happen for the people. I know that CBS, who own Showtime, has been losing their ass on those shows. The only way to bail themselves out of that loss is Manny.
“Moonves and Bob got together and spoke, it was a good meeting. I listened, I didn’t say anything, because I’m really not the deciding factor in that. I just put them both together at Bob’s house and I got them both to show up at the same time. It was good. I was trying to make this fight happen.
“I’m doing things I’m really not supposed to be doing to make this fight happen. It’s way out of my league but the thing is I want this fight to happen and those two guys can do it. It was a good meeting and I was very happy afterwards because I thought what was said was good. What was said could be done. He says he can deliver one guy and Bob can deliver the other. That’s really all we need.”
Of course there is a long way to go to get such a fight off the ground. Mayweather’s antipathy towards Arum is a major hurdle.
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“How are we going to negotiate this?” Roach mused. “I said to them, why don’t we hire a negotiator like Bill Clinton? He’s a smart guy, an intelligent person, he’s supposed to be a good negotiator. Someone like that. They said we can do it ourselves. I said, ‘I don’t know about know about that because you guys argue all the time.’ I just tried to come up with everything I could to make it smoother, to make this fight happen. The meeting did happen, I was there. It was a very good meeting, a very good ending. They’re both very happy with the ideas. It’s been done once before [a joint HBO and Showtime broadcast] with Lennox Lewis and Mike Tyson, so it’s not impossible. Hopefully this happens.”
The great fighters of past eras fought the best available opposition. It would damage the legacies of both Pacquiao and Mayweather if the two never meet, although the point of greatest demand for this fight has already passed.
“I want the challenge. I love the challenge of fighting Mayweather. He’s a challenging guy. I’ve studied him. I already got the game plan down for him, I know his mistakes and so forth. But I’m sure I’m going to watch tapes again. Because I’m anxious and I think it’s going to happen,” Freddie said. “I hope as much as you guys that it does.”
Read Bob Arum’s Masterplan to make it happen in this week’s BOXING NEWS and John Dennen’s ringside report from Pacquiao’s latest fight